I just came back from a walk (at the time of writing – 12:45pm today). It’s cold – my weather app says it’s -8, but with the wind it feels like -16. I think it’s colder than that. I was bundled up – good jacket, warm hat, new gloves – so I really only felt the cold on my face.
I walked to the local Tim Horton’s, about 10-15 minutes up the road on foot. I picked up an XL dark roast coffee, and a lone Old Fashion Plain timbit. I was going to go with a full doughnut, because I honestly forgot that I could get individual timbits. These ones are 50 calories each – a much better option than 210 calories from a full doughnut.
I kept it in my pocket the entire walk back to the office. It tasted so good. Yeah, a full doughnut might have been nice, but I think I would have wasted 160 calories. I’ll take the feeling of enjoying a great tasting, tiny doughnut combined with a brisk walk over the extra 160 calories.
I recently took a look at my weight numbers and came to the realization that since August 2014, I have gained at least 40 pounds. This, after having lost about that same amount in a period of 15 months from 2013 to 2014.
That kind of number should be shocking, and it is. But I’m not reacting negatively to it. Instead I’m using the shock as a motivator. For the last year+ I’ve been trying to lose weight, but haven’t really been getting anywhere (and in fact, have gained weight – just look at the chart for the last year!). Seeing that I’ve gained so much weight back is an eye opener.
Clearly, I’m not “doing it right”. If I’m being honest, I know also I haven’t been recording my calorie intake (using MyFitnessPal) properly – at least, until last week. If I were to think about any change I could possibly make, this is the first place to start.
Sure, even in the last week, I still have had a couple of days where I was lazy and didn’t log things properly. But what’s important to me here is that these days are 1 or 2 in 10, rather than 7 or 8 in 10. So I have started here, with logging.
Looking back before my hard restart, I can see that I just gave up completely on days where I know I blew my calorie goal. I’d stop logging and not worry about it. This is where I went wrong. Today, I’ll keep logging the calories even if I’m going over my daily budget. It’s the only way I’ll keep accountable.
It really boils down to accountability. For the longest time, I’ve been entering all of this fitness data and not doing anything with it. Not only am I fixing what was broken, I’m going to have to do a regular review of my progress. I won’t do that here, but this blog post is basically just as much for people reading it as it is for me to say, “I have to do this.”
And I will do this. I did it before. My first goal post is 20 pounds by March 5, 2019. I’ve only been at this in full force for about a week, and I’m at about the same weight as when I started. I’m going to do a meaningful review next week (at the two week mark) and see where I am.
This probably seems like a very obvious revelation, but recently I’ve discovered how great it makes me feel to work with a clean kitchen.
Let me explain a bit further. It’s not like I never cleaned the kitchen before, or never appreciated a clean kitchen, it’s just that up until this past weekend I was very lazy (or maybe more appropriately, lackadaisical) after cooking dinner. We have only one sink, plus a dishwasher, but with that set up it’s a pain to keep the dishes clean. So then I decide I’ll do it later, and then everything just keeps piling up.
This weekend I did a major clean of the kitchen after cooking dinner for the family. It made the next morning amazingly easy for making breakfast, and then the dishes piled up a bit more after dinner. But then I cleaned it all up before going to bed. The next morning, making lunches was even easier. Everything was where I needed it to be, and ready to use. So I kept the chain going, and cleaned up after last night’s dinner, too.
The side effect wasn’t just the useful, clean kitchen. That I feel is the bonus in this situation. I’ve noticed a significant positive impact on my mood, too. Now, I think this is a large part of my personality. I like it when things are clean and orderly, and it bugs me when I start to see the kitchen dirty with dishes piled up waiting to be washed.
While this is a simple habit I’m hopefully going to stick with, it’s something that makes me happier just a little bit in my life. This is one room I have locked down (so far). Next thing I need to tackle is the basement. But I hope this little write-up helps someone pick out something in their own life they can change to make a bigger difference.
I listened to three podcast episodes recently that I thought were really good at sparking a line of thought for self reflection and/or improvement. Two of them were from the same podcast, the third was a different one.
Overthinking It – Episode 531 – You Are Not Worse Than You Are and Episode 532 – The Dragon Bookmark.
Normally Overthinking it spends time picking apart popular culture, but for the weeks of September 3rd and 10th they didn’t deem popular culture worthy of being picked apart. Episode 531 was all about self improvement, and the ideas inherent to those words themselves and other ways people go about trying to improve themselves. 532 was something else entirely – it was about the experience of being alone with your thoughts (to put it briefly).
I really wish I wrote down what prompted me to start this post at the time that the thoughts came, but suffice it to say that I was very much engrossed in these episodes and figure that other people can get something out of them as well. Even if you’re not focused on self improvement at the moment, it doesn’t hurt to engage in some self reflection.
The Hilarious World of Depression – Imposter Syndrome: True Tales, Tricks, and Tactics for When You’re Feeling Fraudulent. I get this a lot – I feel like my efforts aren’t good enough at all when it comes to making things. And it doesn’t even have to be in the creative realm – that was a revelation I heard while listening to this podcast. Often times I believe myself to be less than what I am in other people’s presence.
I remember being busy cooking while I was listening to this episode, so I might need to listen to it again when I’m less focused on another task. But sometimes it is helpful just to hear that other people struggle in the same way that you do, so that’s the primary use behind this episode for me.
Bonus Podcast: I forgot about this one when I started working on this post. Raise the Bar – Season 2 Episode 2 – One Kwe. This was basically a long interview with the owner of One Kwe, Kathryn Corbiere. She’s in the process of opening her own storefront soon on Manitoulin, and has had her work featured in many different places (most prominently, Manitoulin Brewing Company). It was very refreshing & inspiring to hear her story.
Last week there was a bit of a kerfuffle on the /r/bujo subreddit – basically that subreddit was created to embrace minimalism in bullet journalling, to counter-act the extremely popular “artsy” entries that people are sharing these days. The issue was that the art crowd was filtering into /r/bujo (probably because they picked the wrong subreddit) and the spirit of minimalism was dying; so the minimalists fought back and are in the process of reclaiming the subreddit.
Did you follow all of that? Good. Where I connect to this is that I tend to be minimalist; I don’t sketch or doodle or use stickers (I used to use multiple pen colours, but I don’t like carting around multiple pens), I stick to the basics.
I keep a separate book for personal stuff as well as at work. What I’m noticing in my habits lately is interesting, though! I use my work planner daily – it basically is a very large, multi-functional to-do list with pages for notes from meetings. I use it in combination with digital tools (Outlook, OneNote, basically all of Microsoft Office). It works for me and is helpful for tracking my progress.
For my personal stuff, I sometimes go days without opening up the book (I haven’t looked at it today, actually). I’m feeling more and more inclined to stick with my digital tools for my personal life and ditch the bullet journal aspect. I don’t get quite the same satisfaction of using it as I used to. Conversely I am finding more uses from my existing digital tools.
For example, I have both Samsung Notes & Microsoft’s OneNote at my fingertips – my smart phone has both of these within a few taps if I need to write anything down. I put nearly everything in Google Calendar. I’ve started playing around with Microsoft’s To-Do app as well. This works for me.
I went into this post thinking that the end result I’d come out with is that I’m going to just keep my notebooks for work and go 100% digital for my home life. But I wonder now if taking the time to sit down and plan out my day holds a benefit that I’m forgetting about. Is it a way for me to slow down?
Maybe. I think there’s also nothing wrong with sitting down and planning things out digitally. When it comes down to it, I’ve been avoiding the “sitting down” part of the equation entirely. I think this is something I need to explore a little bit more again. There’s nothing stopping me from reviewing things electronically and keeping my life…well, digital.
Perhaps my habits will change, but this is what I’ve picked up on so far. They’ve changed since I got back into notebooks on a daily basis three years ago, so there’s no reason they can’t continue to evolve.
I’ve not seen very much progress in the weight loss department over the last 90 days. My numbers have pretty much fluctuated up and down, meaning I’m more or less maintaining my weight rather than losing. That’s fine, it’s definitely better than gaining.
I know the reason for this too – I’ve not been properly tracking my calorie intake via MyFitnessPal. It’s been a combination of a number of things – either I skip days entirely, or I only enter a portion of my diary, or I don’t record “treats” – the bottom line is that I’m not keeping track of what I’m eating, so I’m not holding myself accountable to the weight loss.
In looking at my numbers, I think part of the reason for this is because I set my daily food goal too low. It looks like I based it on losing 2 pounds a week – which is pretty aggressive, but it meant that daily I was only allowed 1690 calories. That’s really low. I asked some questions yesterday about what I was doing, and the person responding felt my calorie deficit was really high. That’s when I looked at my numbers and agreed with them. Helps to get outside perspective every now and then. So I’ve done a reset, based my numbers on my TDEE – 500 per day (so the goal is: 1 lb per week).
We’ll see how this goes. I’ve also decided not to focus too much on the exercise front; I will be going to the gym, going for walks, playing some sports, etc. But I feel that I’m putting too much emphasis on getting my daily steps in and I’m not getting as much reading done as I’d like to.
Edit: My overall goal too is to help me feel more comfortable with the clothes I’ve bought. I liked them in the store, but when I go to put them on at home for work, I don’t like the way they look. So there’s a confidence thing going on too.
I’ve recently started using the Daylio app. I’m…not at all sure how they came up with that name, but it serves a specific purpose that I was looking for. Namely, to track how I’m feeling. Mostly I wanted to do this for days when I feel “down”, to try and figure out the reason behind feeling that way.
I wanted something simple, quick, and give me the option to look back on it later to track trends. I stumbled upon Daylio quite by accident, because I was originally thinking of tracking this kind of thing in my bullet journal. I saw someone recommend Daylio and it turned out to be exactly what I needed.
I stuck with the free version for a while, but they ended up having a 50% off sale – so I jumped on it and bought the paid version of the app. To be honest, I think most people will be fine with the free version – I probably would still be using it for free had there not been a flash sale.
But the app is pretty basic. You open it up, add an entry (which is done by clicking on an overall mood and associating with an activity), and that’s it. You can type notes if you want to, but it’s completely optional. The simplicity of the app is what makes it great. I believe the paid version opens it up to add more “moods”.
Overall it’s only something I recommend if you need a quick tracking app. It’s not an in-depth thing that has a lot of utility. I would say that if you need help with mental health in a serious capacity, this is not a solution.
I’ve got what I consider to be a “weird” hobby (or habit?) – writing in notebooks. I consider it weird, because I have no practical use for notebooks – other than my “bullet journal” set up, I don’t really write down anything of substance day-to-day. And yet, it’s an extremely enjoyable thing to see my personal font jump out just right from the page.
OK, the picture I just included is a little on the messy side. But what I hope it illustrates is just the right balance of colour and shape of the letters that seems to look…”right” on the page. This is the part where I consider my hobby / habit weird. I don’t spend as much time writing things out as I used to, but finding the perfect paper and perfect pen (or sometimes pencil) for that paper is fantastic.
Every now and then (and now is one of those times) I go on a little quest to figure out, “what can I use my varied selection of notebooks for?” The question is often unanswered, because either I give up or the feeling just fades away before I get a chance. Predominantly I use it for planning my day or writing things down I don’t want to forget. But that is purely functional – I actually want to write something out rather than use a planner.
So my search has started. At the absolute least I will probably start writing out my blog posts by hand before typing them out here. Ultimately, I would very much like to use up the notebooks that I’ve spent good money on 😉
Back in March, I got a Samsung Gear S3 smart watch to replace my FitBit Charge 2. I’ve been doing a lot more tracking, etc. with it than I ever did with my FitBit. But until now, I haven’t really looked at the data. Well, now’s my chance. Here’s all of the health data I’ve recorded.
My data actually goes back to January – I assume that some data got imported when I did some syncs with different apps. Here are my average sleep times for each month:
January – 7 hrs 26 mins
February – 7 hrs 47 mins
March – 7 hrs 56 mins
April – 7 hrs 0 mins
May (to date) – 7 hrs 2 mins
My average sleep efficiency recorded for April/May was 90%. I’m not actually quite sure what “sleep efficiency” is, and whether or not that was a metric that Samsung came up with. It turns out, it’s an actual number you can figure out yourself. Here’s how verywellhealth.com defines it:
Sleep efficiency is the ratio of the total time spent asleep (total sleep time) in a night compared to the total amount of time spent in bed. For example, if a man spends 8 hours in bed on a given night, but only actually sleeps for four of those hours, his sleep efficiency for that evening would be 50% (four divided by eight multiplied by 100 percent).
So it looks like I’ve been sleeping pretty well, on average.
March – 8112 average daily steps; average distance 6.07km
April – 8247 average daily steps; average distance 5.63km
May (to date) – 8813 average daily steps; average distance 5.92km
I seem to be fairly consistent with the average daily steps. My goal is 10,200 currently, and I’ve hit that 18 times (according to my ‘badge’ list – the last time I hit it was this past Monday). The most steps I’ve walked to date was March 14th, when I hit 16,838 steps. The previous record before that was 13,392.
March – 99 average active minutes
April – 103 average active minutes
May (to date) – 115 average active minutes
You can tell that I’ve been more active as the weather gets better.
March – 46 bpm Minimum | 68 bpm Average | 200 bpm Maximum
April – 45 bpm Minimum | 67 bpm Average | 171 bpm Maximum
May (to date) – 49 bpm Minimum | 69 bpm Average | 177 bpm Maximum
I’m not sure how to analyze this data, to be honest. Is that good? Bad? Looking at the average, specifically; I figure that the minimums/maximums will probably be outliers anyway (and the max would be recorded during exercise).
I did some brief research, and found a formula for figuring out targets for training at least. Using that formula, my max heart rate should be 186-188. So it looks like except for March, I’m well within that range and have some room to work harder. I found a Livestrong article that suggests 60 to 100 bpm is “normal” for ages 10 and up.
So there you have it. I’m interested to see how my numbers compare for June/July/August. I anticipate that my steps / exercise will probably increase vs the comparable numbers for March/April/May. I think that it would be realistic to shoot for a 65 bpm average as well.
Recently I posted about some goals I had and one of them was to fix my swing for softball. I think in my head I had some ideas about changing my mechanics and maybe swinging up at the ball, or something like that. In my head I was going to hit home runs, probably.
I didn’t put any thought or practice to this other than just going up to the plate and start swinging. I went to one practice a couple of Fridays ago, and that’s where I started to work on it. My first step to everything was to just ease into swinging – I haven’t swung a bat all Fall/Winter, and judging by how sore I’ve been the last week, my muscles are geared toward curling, not softball (and especially not running). This part was easy – I think I would score 100% on “taking it easy” in the first practice.
But the results weren’t great. Mostly a lot of weak hits, a lot of opposite field, a lot of foul balls. Fast forward to the first two games and I hit a heck of a lot of little ground ball dribblers. I couldn’t tell you for sure but it felt like I was either just on top or just below the ball with the bat. I definitely wasn’t making solid contact.
We had another practice this past Saturday. I came in with a specific focus: I needed to fix my swing. I spent a bit of time watching everyone else hit, until finally I took my turn up to bat. I know you should always practice the way you want to play, but since I wanted to hit a lot of balls, I was going to swing at everything. In a game, I probably want to avoid the “bad” pitches, but I’m also not going to get nearly as many pitches as I would in practice.
Making the decision to swing at everything was my first step to fixing my swing. The second step was again to just ease into it – I wasn’t concerned about how far I was hitting the ball, I just wanted to make solid contact. I made sure to take some practice swings, remaining cognizant of my wrist positioning and keeping the bat level, and not “swooping” it up.
When I first got to the plate, I had a sudden realization: I was waiting too long to start my swing. For two seasons I’ve been going opposite field, and had many weak grounders (because I was on top of the ball, usually). All because I was swinging late. With that in mind – and the decision that I was swinging at everything – I just started my swing a little earlier than I had been, and not waiting on it to see where it would end up across the plate.
And I was hitting everything. Solid contact across the board. Some hits were a little shorter than others – probably due to the height of the ball across the plate more than anything. But I had some real good, solid line drives. I hit to the fence (including the top of the fence), to the warning track. You name it. No home runs but I wasn’t worried about that. I was also pulling everything again, something I hadn’t done in a long time.
I was really excited after my at-bat. At the time of writing I haven’t played yet – I will add an update before posting though. I’m not sure how I’m going to approach the in-game situation – I don’t necessarily want to swing at everything. But I know at least that I can’t decide too late for my swings.
I think I hit 3/6 or something like that across two games. I didn’t have everything going too well in the first game, but the second game was a marked improvement. My last hit in the 2nd game was a grounder up the right side because I decided too late to start my swing. However – I would rather be able to change which side I hit based on timing, rather than making it obvious and shifting my body.
In my mind, I had some kind of vision of a cartoon-y train to use as a picture for this post, but alas, it was not meant to be.
For the past…I don’t know…30 days? I’ve been holding steady with my weight. I went up, but have come back down. Currently I don’t know my status, because I don’t have a scale handy. You see, I’m in the process of moving so things are all over the place. One of those things is the scale. Anyway, this is all related. Oh, and a warning, this post is going to be more of a ramble than something I’ve actually thought and planned out.
Early on in the moving process we decided that we would pack away things like dishes, cooking utensils, give away some pots and pans, etc. Essentially means that we are currently unable to actually cook anything at home. As a result we are eating out a lot. Being in a small town at the moment, our options are rather limited. It’s a little stressful at times, too. So since February something or other I haven’t even bothered logging anything other than my daily weight.
I’m trying to keep some rough estimates in my head for when I eat, so that I don’t over-indulge, but for the most part I’m not worrying about it. Unfortunately this is probably going to have the side effect of setting me back even further than I’ve already done. Still, I would rather take the trade-off of not worrying about my current food intake vs. reducing some stress around a big move.
I was doing some thinking and I want to set some different goals. My weight used to be my primary goal, and was a measure of success. I don’t think that’s cutting it, for me though. There’s got to be a reason why I keep going back and forth with logging, not logging, juggling my calorie limits and “do I eat back calories or not?”, and so forth. And I think that putting too much attention on my weight is one of the leading factors.
So my goal for the rest of the Spring and Summer is to set a new goal. Haha. I have to do some thinking, but I need to set a goal that is measurable and attainable. I will still have a weight number in mind, but that’s secondary. Some of the things I have kicking around in my head include going back down shirt / pant sizes, improving my softball game, and so on. What I need is a solid plan instead of a loose ramble.
Work in progress.
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